Since leaving the Jim Cullum Jazz Band, Allan Vaché has thrived in his solo career, leading a number of record dates. These sessions are a bit of a change, in that the clarinetist doesn't stick exclusively to standards and jazz compositions, while several tracks add an orchestra (combining a horn quintet with a string quartet). The core band includes pianist Jeff Phillips, guitarist Bob Leary, bassist Charlie Silva, and drummer Ed Metz. Vaché leads the band through breezy arrangements of "For Once in My Life" and "Bye, Bye, Blues," with the musicians displaying an energy that gives it the feeling of a performance at a jazz party instead of in the studio. Vaché's "Blues for Kenny," a tribute to the late clarinetist Kenny Davern, is an infectious New Orleans-flavored number with the leader's wife Vanessa adding harmony on bass clarinet, along with a delicious understated solo. The orchestra is included on six selections, among them a dreamy take of the 1960s pop song "Didn't We" and a richly textured rendition of "Alfie" (long a favorite of jazz musicians). There are also several Brazilian songs, including the brisk, infectious interpretation of "Someone to Light Up My Life" and the lush "So Many Stars." Vocalist Tammy Georgine is added for a sensitive treatment of "Moanin' Low" and a gently swinging "Our Love Is Here to Stay." This diverse outing is among Allan Vaché's finest efforts.
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AllMusic Review by Ken Dryden